This year’s Annual Meeting and Convention will be held at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort in Arizona, and boasts an impressive lineup of Keynote Speakers and Breakout Sessions, guest activities, exhibits and sponsorships. The Annual Golf Tournament, one of the Foundation’s biggest fund raisers, will kick off the convention on April 24that the gorgeous TPC Scottsdale.
Over the past few years, one of the most exciting aspects of the Annual Meeting and Convention is the Young Professionals Track, which was designed to educate and empower the next generation of Credit Union Leaders.
We sat down with Nicole Brusewitz, Vice President of Education and Events for the Association, to talk about why the Young Professionals Track is important and what attendees can expect from this year’s event.
MWCUA: Why is the Young Professionals Track an important part of the Annual Meeting and Convention?
Nicole: It’s important for a couple of reasons. First, we know that professional development is important to our young leaders. If we want them to stay within the Credit Union movement, we must provide them with development opportunities that they find meaningful.
Second, in year’s past, most of the meeting attendees were a part of their Credit Union’s executive leadership team. Younger professionals had little opportunity to understand what the meetings were about or why they are important. By giving them such a direct opportunity to participate, we are communicating that we value our young leaders and want them to be an integral part of what our industry is doing.
The track has also had the unexpected effect of reenergizing the whole convention. The whole group of Young Professionals bring this contagious energy with them that spills over and sparks the interest of other attendees. Having them there has created higher engagement and more reflection about the incredible importance of ensuring that the Credit Union movement has a constant stream of new leaders coming in.
MWCUA: What can Young Professionals who attend this year’s conference can expect?
Nicole: There’s a pre-conference workshop just for Young Professionals that includes a complete strategic planning session for a mock credit union. Participants will be assigned to a team where they will run through scenarios of a Credit Union strategic planning session. This is going to be a great way to learn more about the strategic planning process, how Mission, Vision and Value statements are developed, and how to develop objectives for financial performance, technology investment, member outreach, leadership, and education.
The teams will present their strategic plans to the full group so that everyone has the opportunity gain insights and feedback from each other.
After the pre-conference workshop, young professionals participate side-by-side with the other attendees for the rest of the conference activities.
MWCUA: Are Young Professionals a part of the planning for the Annual Meeting and Convention?
Nicole: Yes. There is a planning committee made up of young professionals that meets throughout the year to plan the Young Professionals Track. They develop the curriculum for the pre-conference workshop, determine what the volunteer opportunity will be, and organize ways for everyone to feel connected. The committee is also a part of recruitment, reaching out to young professionals from Credit Unions in our association and encouraging them to participate.
Gathering feedback from the previous year’s conference is a part of the planning process. As that feedback is incorporated, I feel that each year’s conference gets even more polished and fine-tuned, creating a very high-caliber experience.
This year’s planning committee has done a tremendous job of balancing the flow of volunteerism, learning, and networking. All three of those things are important to the experience of attending the convention, and even thought it can be difficult to manage all three efficiently, the committee has done a great job.
MWCUA: Are there any breakout sessions that you feel might be of particular interest to attendees on the Young Professionals Track?
Nicole: There is a breakout session titled Sustainable Strategies for Leaders and Teams that I think will be really useful.
The young professionals who attend come from different backgrounds, have different areas of expertise, and work in all different sized Credit Unions. In many cases, the only thing they have in common is that they are considered a “young leader”. But, this breakout session will be useful for anyone in attendance, across all different disciplines.
MWCUA: Why is it important for the Foundation to focus time and resources on developing young leaders?
Nicole: One of the things that’s most important to young leaders is that they have access to the tools and resources they need to grow. They are eager to learn and move forward in their career and will be even more devoted to the Credit Union movement if we support their growth.
I also think that having young professionals on staff is important for individual Credit Unions who want to attract young members. It’s imperative that young adults feel that they are represented in the businesses they choose to work with. So, having a staff that reflects their membership and mirrors the community in which they serve is very important.
Scholarship opportunities still open!
Professional development scholarships are still available for Credit Union volunteers, management, and staff to attend this year’s Meeting and Convention. Click here to apply now.